Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” is an evanescent paean to childhood that loses much of its texture in E.R. Haire’s one-man performance at Theatre 6470 in Hollywood.
Haire and director Peter Spellos have broken from traditional two-character stagings and produced the show with only the man/boy narrator figure. But Haire is not a strong enough actor to pull off Capote’s memory by himself. We must see the youth’s pixilated relationship with his sixtysomething lady cousin in Depression-locked Alabama, not just hear about her.
Haire has the open-faced wonder to be in the past and narrate from the present. But his portrait of the boy’s daft cousin, her pennies and pecans and dog Queenie and their remarkable partnership making fruitcake for the villagers, is blunted by the recitative nature of Haire’s presentation.
The story doesn’t have the gritty ripeness of Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” but it is an indelible part of Christmas literature. Even a flawed production has value. Its kite imagery at the end is spellbinding.